Those feet were made for walking
By Lilianne Fuller
To maintain good overall health doctors recommend walking at least 10,000 steps a day. In addition, numerous studies declare this is a great way to keep off excess pounds, make our bodies more flexible, and improve mental acuity.
But in order to walk 10,000 steps a day it’s important to protect the health of the feet. There are many ways to improve and maintain good foot health including having a medical pedicure regularly and investing in a good pair of shoes or orthotics.
Having a medical pedicure is an excellent way to ensure that your feet stay healthy. Similar to a cosmetic pedicure, the feet are cleansed with a non-rinse solution. In the past, feet were bathed but it was found that having soaks increased the possibility of infection. In addition, soaks can also contribute to skin becoming too dry. Following the cleanse, rough edges on the feet are smoothed and the health of the feet assessed, and steps taken to alleviate certain conditions. “Regular medical pedicures manage minor foot care concerns like calluses, corns or thickened nails and help to identify issues and intervene early to prevent more serious complications that could affect function and mobility over time,” says Jennifer Berringer, a Registered Nurse and Owner Operator of Sure Step Mobile Foot Care.
While foot care is important at any life stage, it becomes increasingly more important as people grow older. “As people age, several factors can make it more difficult to care for your own feet. Mobility can become challenging, so simply being able to reach down and trim your own nails can become tricky,” Berringer explains. With age comes a higher likelihood of medical conditions that you might not realize have an effect on the feet, such as diabetes, heart disease and problems with circulation. “These kinds of conditions can have an effect on the size, shape, and health of a person’s foot without their even realizing it. By having foot health assessed, recommendations can be made for things like proper footwear or issues that may need further follow up with a doctor,” she adds.
Good foot care is especially important for diabetics. Many people with diabetes can experience a condition known as neuropathy which is a lack of sensation in their feet as well as reduced circulation. “This can put diabetics at risk of developing wounds on their feet that can be prone to infection or be difficult to heal. Regular inspection of the feet, careful nail cutting and proper treatment of corns or callus’ by a professional and properly fitting shoes can all help to keep feet healthy,” explains Berringer.
One of the best things a person can do for their feet is to wear properly fitting shoes. Berringer reports this is not always the most popular advice because unfortunately many women sacrifice fashion for good foot health. “We all love to wear cute shoes, but aging feet can often change shape due to arthritis or bunions or become a bit more swollen. By wearing a properly fitted shoe that gives room and support to the foot, you can prevent the development of calluses or corns or even aches and pain in other parts of the body that stem from the feet,” she says.
Today’s advances in science and technology have also brought about advances in the Orthotic Industry as well. Foot orthoses or orthotics are a prescribed treatment option for many foot conditions.
Travis Finlayson, BSc, CO(c) is a Certified Orthotist. He says that in addition to promoting good foot health, foot orthotics are also beneficial for chronic knee injuries such as osteoarthritis. “Foot orthotics can be used proactively to increase the weight-bearing surface area of the foot for improved body mechanics and foot comfort,” he says.
Finlayson and Berringer offer similar advice for maintaining good foot health. Both recommend that a person monitor their feet to watch for redness, swelling, peeling or open sores. “Listen to your feet,” says Finlayson. “If they start to get sore, don’t ignore the pain, it probably won’t just go away”, he says. “See your family doctor and have it looked at by a foot care specialist,” he adds.
In addition, depending on your health insurance coverage and again if you’re a veteran, you may be eligible to have medical pedicures covered as well. Check with your health care professional and your insurance company.
So, if sore feet are keeping you from walking 10,000 steps a day, book a medical pedicure or look into trying orthotics. You have nothing to lose but your foot pain.